Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

Battle of Poland, for as a result of the ultimate victory the deadly menace
to the security of the United Nations was removed, but Poland's struggle
was to end in her annihilation.
In 1939, the Polish people chose the path compatible with their honour.
They were of the opinion that their battle in Poland was the loss of a
vanguard action, and there still remained the main forces of their Allies—
that their victory would be Poland's victory as well. In spite of their
treaty with France and Britain they had received no military support^
but they still believed that loyalty to the common fight and faith in the
fulfilment of the word given to comrade-in-arms was, as through the
seons of history, one of the most valuable assets of civilization, and they
found it impossible to believe that they were now to be abandoned.
Generously fed on the chaff of promises, since their continued resistance
was of extreme importance to Allied strategy, the Poles, helped by
British armaments, fought on every battlefield where the Germans could
be encountered. However, the bravery of the Polish nation seemed
ill-rewarded, for in the landscape of this new Europe there was no room for
a free Polish Republic. The loss of its independence was to pass almost
unnoticed by the peoples of fighting democracies, for their governments had
clamped down the strictest of censorship, and by means of propaganda
endeavoured to convince the masses that Poland's independence had
indeed been regained. Poland had been c compensated for the loss of
her Eastern Provinces at the expense of Germany ' was to be their motto.
' Britain had honoured her pledges as far as possible and the Poles ought
to be satisfied. If some of them were not, then it was their own fault/
' We admit they have been treated badly, but . . .' They had
indeed been c treated badly \ Polish casualties have been rated at the
highest among all the countries of Europe, and up till 1945, had surpassed
twenty-eight per cent. While Germany with her eighty million had had
two million killed, Poland with a population of thirty-six million had
suffered a loss of six million. The damage in the country itself was
immense, for from the first to the last day of war and after, she was either
a battlefield or else she was in the zone of German and Russian occupa-
tion., which meant that the horrors of war were changed to the systematic
horrors of a totalitarian regime with its pulverising of the community
and its ruthless exploitation. The deportation of the Polish people to
Siberia and the final shove which sent Poland to the Oder were
additional tribulations, and resulted in casualties and mortality which it
is impossible to reckon in figures. At least half of the entire Polish
nation at one time or another during the War had been driven
from their homes—families dispersed, their possessions, their personal
belongings lost, , . .
Germany's invasion of Russia and the lightning advance of Hitler's
armies to the Volga and Moscow in 1941 made the lord of the Kremlin